Originally Published: March 8, 2012 http://blogs.republicanherald.com/tech/?p=248
If you’ve been waiting for a reason to jump into the tablet world, this is it. Today during Apple’s iPad event in San Francisco, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook revealed the company’s most powerful tablet yet, which is being called none other than “the new iPad.”
You may have been expecting it to be called the iPad 3, HD or 2S, since it does look pretty much exactly like its predecessor, but don’t let the name disappoint. Dropping the number tags along at the end of the iPad name makes it simpler and less confusing — to Apple at least.
Although the new iPad is slightly heavier than the “iPad 2″ at 9.4 millimeters thin, or 0.37 inches, compared to 8.8 millimeters, or 0.34 inches, for the iPad 2, and the weigh is going up from 1.33 pounds to 1.4 pounds, the new weight most definitely comes from the added features. That new display and processor I’m going to mention later definitely need a bigger battery, which still offers the same charge even with faster LTE network speeds.
I won’t go through everything that Apple announced on Wednesday — there was also a new Apple TV and lots of new iOS apps — but here are some of the major features of “the new iPad.”
Also, the new iPad is available for pre-order now and will be launching March 16. It will be the same prices at the iPad 2 when it launched, starting at $499 and going up from there depending on HD size and cellular data. With the new tablet, the iPad 2 has now dropped by $100 in price. The iPad still only goes up to 64 GB, so if you were hoping for 128 GB of on-board storage, you’re out of luck.
The first thing I have to highlight is the display. Now while I’ve yet to use the new iPad, only Apple employees and those lucky enough to be at the event in California have, they say the display is a beauty. The new “retina display” boasts a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution display, with 3.1 million pixels total spread across the screen, 326 dots per inch (dpi). The iPad 2 only had 1024 by 768 pixels at 132 dpi. As with the name “retina display,” first used with the iPhone 4, it’s used because such a dense screen should allow pixels to be indistinguishable from each other to the human eye at a distance of about 10 to 12 inches away.
If you don’t see a reason to spend money on the new iPad because of a better screen, remember that it will be able to display apps, websites and video with more detail and clarity, especially useful since Apple also announced Wednesday that the iTunes store will now stream full high-definition 1080p video, up from 720p, and – I’ll get to this more later – the new screen will better show off photos and videos shot with the improved camera.
Leading off from the last paragraph, the new iPad will feature a 5-megapixel “iSight” rear camera that can shoot up to 1080p video, and has auto exposure, auto focus, a backside illumination sensor and face detection. In the front is a VGA quality, 0.3-megapixel “FaceTime” camera for video chats and lower resolution photos.
It’s a major improvement from the VGA-quality front and rear cameras in the iPad 2, while the back shooter was more high quality, it had was less-than 1-megapixel, although it could shoot 720p video. The first generation iPad had no cameras.
Modified Apple A5 processor
While everyone was expecting the new iPad to come with a brand new “A6″ quad-core processor, that sadly isn’t the case, but don’t think this new A5X doesn’t add more power. Taking the chip featured in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, Apple paired the CPU with an improved quad-core GPU (graphics processor). This makes it better able to handle the 1080p video and the new retina display.
Apple said the A5X delivers “double the graphics performance of the A5 chip,” and that it delivers four times the performance of the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, used in most of the newest Android tablets coming out now.
Both the iPad 1 and 2 offered only 3G speeds, the latter adding Verizon into the mix. With the new iPad comes Verizon and AT&T 4G LTE versions. Although there is now a Sprint iPhone, there was no word of a Sprint version of the new iPad. The new iPad will bring download speeds up to 42 Mbps (megabits per second) with DC-HSDPA and up to 21.1 Mbps with HSPA+, and have a maximum download speed of 73 Mbps. You will still need to choose either a Verizon or AT&T version, if you want to have access to mobile broadband on your device.
These faster data speeds contribute to it being the fastest iPad yet, with both processor and data speeds.
Dictation… no, it’s not Siri
Here’s the last feature I’m going to tell you guys about — Dictation. Ever since Siri was announced with the iPhone 4S, I wanted it on my iPad 2. Both the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4 were left in the dark, as Apple basically said it was only meant to run on the 4S. The iPad 2 should have gotten Siri, it had the same hardware, but the only way to get it on there was by jailbreaking and if you already own a 4S or know someone who does.
That aside, the new iPad got a tiny voice communication software of its own that only allows you to speak what you want to write and it will then be written out. Dictation doesn’t offer Siri’s features where you can ask it your location, where the nearest sushi restaurant is, the weather or to call you “Rock God.”
This is basically the same feature as on Android phones where it writes out your text messages for you, or in other words, Siri without all the bells and whistles.